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Section 2 Becoming a Researcher/Scholar / Chapter 7 Preparing for Writing

By Dr. Julia Langdal


1. Introduction


Staring at a blinking cursor on a computer screen or a blank piece of paper on a desk is a daunting prospect. Knowing that page and more must be filled is enough to give anyone writer’s block. How, then, does a person learn to write academic papers? What is the academic writing process?


Academic writing at the doctoral level should be professional, thorough, accurate, and concise, yet still engaging enough to maintain a reader’s interest. It should be based upon peer-reviewed sources and evidence, not upon personal opinion. Preparing for academic writing is a multifaceted process, involving personal and academic considerations. As doctoral learners are the instrument of their writing, personal preparation is a key component to successful academic writing. Guidelines prescribed by a style guide (e.g., the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) provide parameters for writing, whereas aspects of style, such as voice and vocabulary, provide the substance of the writing. This chapter will explore the elements of personal and academic preparation for writing.